Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Old Masters

The New York Time's piece Old Masters is a wonderful reading. Several men and women over the age of 80 that still are on top of their game and living very active and creative life (and why shouldn't they?), are interviewed about life, work, hindsights, the future, and so much more. Also, an essay by American writer Lewis H. Lapham.

Frederick Wiseman, filmmaker, 84:

Any advice for young filmmakers?

Marry rich.

R. O. Blechman, illustrator and author, 84:

What do you know now that you didn’t know when you were younger?

It’s important to stay with a project and not give up because it doesn’t seem to be breaking for you. Whatever it is. I’m reminded of what a Russian scientist once said: ‘‘Ice forms instantly, but the process of forming the ice is slow and invisible.’’

Carmen Herrera, painter, 99, who sold her first painting at age 89. Her work is now to be found in the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern.

What was your reaction when you sold your first painting at 89?

I was never bitter. I always wished others well. I thought maybe the market would be corrupting. Without commercial success you can do what you want to do. There is freedom to be working alone. But, oh, when my work began to sell! I thought, Damn it, it’s about time!

Frank Gehry, architect, 85:

What has changed the most for you about your work since you’ve hit your 80s?

Buildings take seven years from the time you’re hired until you’re finished. There’s always that pause in my mind now when we get a new project. And then I think about it for a few minutes, and I say: ‘‘Ah, screw it! Full speed ahead.’’

Photo credit: Photographs of artist Ellsworth Kelly and painter Carmen Herrera by Erik Madigan Heck.

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